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Old 07-18-2011, 02:55 AM   #1
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Default 8-10 reps for bulking 12-15 reps for toning. Fact or Fiction?

I was just thinking about this.

We've all heard something similar to this and it very well may be true. But lets look at it like this.

Lets take two people... one wants the bulky, body builder look and the other wants the lean, toned, ripped look.

The one that wants to bulk does less reps with more weight b/c that's what they've been told and the one that wants the lean look does more reps with less weight.

Isn't it safe to expect that the person the wants to bulk will eat as if they are bulking, just as the other person won't?

We've all heard that 80%+ of your results are based on your diet. If this is true wouldn't that debunk the myth of less reps + more weight = bulk & more reps + less weight = lean muscle mass?

Shouldn't it be... calorie deficient + weight training program = lean, ripped look & calorie surplus + weight training program = bulky, built look?

I'd bet that if someone ate at a deficient they would not get bulky, no matter how few reps or how much weight they lift, just as if someone pigged out everyday and cranked out a ton of reps with little weight, they wouldn't get ripped.

If this is true, then why do we focus so much on reps, instead of muscle fatigue and nutrition?

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Old 07-18-2011, 01:45 PM   #2
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I asked my trainer about this when I started because I had heard that I should do more reps instead of increasing the weights. He said it wasn't true and that I would not bulk up because of the increased weights. For strength and everything else he was for increased weights. He also said women did not have to work out differently than men. Of course he is bulked up. If I start looking like a body builder I'll let you know. Mary

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Old 07-18-2011, 08:45 PM   #3
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I have a girlfriend on another board (for my dogs) who is a power lifter. She weighs about 135 at like 5'6" I think and power lifts in different stances but some of her lifts are at or over 300lbs. She is not bulky and you only do ONE rep at that weight.
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Old 07-20-2011, 05:27 AM   #4
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From what I understand on the subject. You do more sets of less reps at a heavier weight to build muscle mass. The muscle mass you put on from this isn't very dense. Doing less sets at a higher rep count with less weight makes your muscles more dense and stronger instead of really creating any mass. Builders alternate between both.
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Old 08-05-2011, 07:02 PM   #5
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You're pretty much spot on when you say it's all about diet. In general, exercise will determine how much of you is fat and how much is lean goodness, and diet will determine how much you weigh.

For the ranges though, 1-5 is mostly for strength, because it's mostly training the central nervous system. Note I said mostly, because you'll still make muscle gains... if you're eating at a surplus. 6-7 is a weird middle ground, 8-12 is for hypertrophy or "bulking" (sorry ladies, you can't really bulk. 99% of you don't have the hormones for it), and more than 12 is for endurance, which does NOT mean "toned".

@Gnomekicker Unfortunately most of that is myth. The mass you put on isn't as strong because you haven't trained your CNS. You actually DROP reps to become stronger. Builders do many things to break through plateaus, which includes mixing up workout, but not for the reason you stated. It's actually because your body will stop adapting unless you mix things up.
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:22 AM   #6
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perhaps you could help me in thread effective exercise for weight loss

didnt want to re post here - wasnt sure if i was doing right or wrong

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Old 08-11-2011, 03:58 PM   #7
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when you do your normal excercises, you lose weight (get smaller), that's what most of us are trying to do correct?

IF you are a serious body builder, and bulking, you would do your reps with such killer weight that every set you would go to failure, and the final sets, you would need a spotter because you are going to exterme failure, maybe only 3 or 4 reps.

In addition your caloric intake would have an affect on your ability to grow or not.

Doing so, tears your muscle fibers, and when they rebuild, they come back bigger and stronger, however, if you werent taking in the proper balance of p/c/f then you efforts would be diminished to a certain degree.

Like everything else, you will get conflicting answers because in what we are doing, it depends on many different things at the same time.

I am losing fat, but at the same time bulking up, and what it takes for me to do so is to take in 20 to 25% protein, 50 to 60% carbs, and15 to 20% fat
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Old 08-12-2011, 01:06 PM   #8
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Diet does have A LOT to do with it! You're not going to get big if you don't have enough calories to support it; and on the flip side, the pot belly isn't going anywhere if you are eating too much.

Yes what you said was true... less reps, higher weights to gain mass; more reps, lower weights (that's not to be read as light as a feather - lower meaning you are tired by your 12th rep), more toned. However, the less reps usually means about 6, or even less if you are trying to max out. I believe the more reps is toning you because you are burning more calories in the process. Less reps is focused just on the muscle and how much it can possibly lift.

But ladies, stop worrying about getting "big" by doing weights. Our bodies won't allow it. Do the weights! Muscle burns fat!

PS Mike, your before and after pictures look great! What you're doing is working!
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Old 08-23-2011, 11:34 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by kristinbyrd04 View Post
Yes what you said was true... less reps, higher weights to gain mass; more reps, lower weights (that's not to be read as light as a feather - lower meaning you are tired by your 12th rep), more toned. However, the less reps usually means about 6, or even less if you are trying to max out. I believe the more reps is toning you because you are burning more calories in the process. Less reps is focused just on the muscle and how much it can possibly lift.
This is still the core of the myth. What I've been doing to build mass for the past two months is both low rep, heavy weight ramping (increasing load on each set while lowering reps), which activates the nervous system and helps with strength, and high rep, lower load sets to "pump" the muscle full of nutrients and wash out metabolic waste. Add to that proper post-workout nutrition and lots of rest and you will grow.

It's been said earlier but bears repeating:

.:1-5 reps really overloads the nervous system, improves mind-muscle connection, stimulates connective tissue and joint adaptation to heavy movement, and builds strength
.:6-10 reps pumps the muscle full of blood and nutrients, washes out metabolic waste, and actually helps reduce soreness by increasing circulation. Also stimulates growth hormone release to enhance mass. The purpose of this mass isn't raw strength but as padding to withstand repeated injury.
.:11< reps tends to generate more metabolic waste than it clears but trains the muscle to work under duress, improving muscular endurance. You also burn some calories as there is an aerobic aspect to this style but it's not that high regardless of how bad a "burn" you feel. That's just lactate buildup and fatigue. Because of the increased metabolic waste your body pulls subcutaneous water into the muscle to help flush it out. This leads to the "toned" effect.

What marketers like to call "toning" is really the same as mass-building, since this is commonly associated with the 8-12 rep range (mass-endurance range). Since in females the overall anabolic potential is less than in men, that toned look comes about from a combination of less fat, less subcutaneous water, and denser muscle growth, and muscle that remains slightly more tensed, ready to respond to the next rep at a moment's notice.

So there are rough rep ranges for specific purposes but any program will strategically use all three to achieve results. The physiological response to each range varies but it's much more complex than just "toning vs. bulking." Hope this clears things up.

My rules:
1) eat real food - more vegetables, moderate meat, moderate fruits, less grains, less sugar, less vegetable oils.
2) exercise - moderate intensity cardio, sprinting, heavy lifting, dedicated stretching and mobility.
3) live - relax, de-stress, meditate.

Disclaimer: I'm not professionally qualified to make any formal recommendations. I've just done my homework and I'm my own guinea pig. All of my data, unless otherwise cited, comes from a sample size of n=1 (me).
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Old 08-24-2011, 01:13 AM   #10
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You can discuss the pros and cons of weight training and the myths until you're blue in the face, but I would argue that genetics have as much or more to do with how easily you can bulk and build strength than any diet or workout routine. As far as I know I do not have any unusual hormones in my system, yet I have to watch the weight training because I bulk quickly without trying, and after a certain point it's just not that pretty.
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